Apollo Theater Creates New Initiative for Artists of Color

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Feb 28, 2020

The Apollo Theater is known worldwide as the place “where stars are born and legends are made” and on February 27, it announced via Twitter the launch of Apollo New Works, a multi-collaborative project to help expose new voices of color to a wide audience. This will be the “first multi-work commissioning initiative dedicated to the creation of a diverse, 21st century American performing arts canon,” according to an emailed statement.

Apollo New Works’ inaugural series will feature 10 multinational artists and arts organizations: Ballet Hispánico; violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain together with BANDALOOP; Tony Award-nominated choreographer Camille A. Brown; choreographers Lil Buck and Jon Boogz of Movement Art Is; Black Gotham Experience, led by artist and historian Kamau Ware; Keith Josef Adkins from The New Black Fest; multimedia group Soul Science Lab; Grammy Award-nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris; and playwright and director Talvin Wilks.

“Thanks to the generous support of the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Apollo New Works expands our commitment to collaboration with established and emerging artists of color whose work is essential to the Apollo, Harlem and the world,” said Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater’s executive producer, of the $3 million collaborative grant. “Artists reflect the celebrations and challenges of society, and our goal for this initiative is to champion a group of voices and promote a new generation of storytellers in an effort to develop a more diverse American canon.”

In addition to the opening of the Victoria Theater in fall 2020, where Apollo New Works will premiere, the initiative will feature events from National Book Award-winner Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Apollo’s inaugural master artist-in-residence, at the legendary theater, as well as at the Victoria.